Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    May 5, 2012 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

8:00 pm
and that we would be delivering to the community something that they could find comforting and a place where they could come and really find some sense of peace. >> stay tuned all weekend long as american history tv features oklahoma city, oklahoma. learn more about oklahoma city and c-span's local content vehicles at c-span.org/local content. next month we'll feature wichita, kansas. wur auching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span three. >> each week american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of the nation's college professors. you can watch the classes here every saturday at 8 p.m. and midnight eastern and again sundays at 1 p.m. this week architectural historian barry lewis looks at architecture in new york city from the light 19th and early 20th century. this 90 minute program took
8:01 pm
place at cooper union in new york city. >> how do you do? i am barry lewis and we're starting the second semester of a city transformed and the two semesters take us on a trip through new york's history through its architecture and city planning and the fall we go from colonial days until the 1890s and this spring semester we'll go from the 1890s until today. first we got to make sure we all know what new york is. most of you are new yorkers, so of course we do know, but do we? new york begins basically in the 17th century by 1800, just 60,000 people crammed into the southern point of manhattan island. remember, it was the english that made all of manhattan contiguous with the borders of new york city but it only existed in the lower part of the island and in 1800 with 60,000 people once you got to 14th street you were in up state, new
8:02 pm
york. now, that changes on the left is a civil war era print and an aerial view of new york and by the civil war era the city expanded to about 60th street and so you park at the top of the slide being built at the northern edge of the city. that is about 1860, 1868. on the right is an aerial view of the five burrow city in 1910 and the area we're covering today, we turned from a single island city into a five bu bureau city and the next part of west chester and statin island as well. here is a city in 1900 this city has 3.5 million people, a million and three quarters live in manhattan. about a million and a quarter live in brooklyn alone. by 1940 we're going to have 8 million people in the city.
8:03 pm
now, this means tremendous growth, and it also means that this city is on the verge of becoming a world capital and we knew it. this era is the era america is coming of age, becoming a world power, fight the spanish american war, get colonies, teddy roosevelt brokers the peace between russian and japan and the 19 zeros and we bypass europe in terms of being the greatest economic power on earth and you could say it is the beginning of the american century. now, i don't know if we're at the end of the american century but i know we're at the beginning in this lecture. i can't tell you about the end. and this era saw the new scale of these world capital cities and especially new york we were the capital of the country in every way but political and we saw a vision for this new city of the coming 20th century in the chicago world fair of 1893 and after this world fair the
8:04 pm
great white city on lake michigan was mostly the product of new york architects and they had a vision of a great white neoclassical city that we new yorkers, all americans, whether you're from des moines, dubuque, new york, carry back to your city in 1893 this magazine sif ent vision of a city and considering we were becoming a world class country, a world power, our main cities world capitals, this was the vision we would carry for the next 30 years. it coincided with the coming of age of american architects. this is the first era we have professionally trained architects in the country. we always had amateurs and not anymore. they either go to the academy in paris to learn their profession or one of the new architectural schools in the united states. i know a lot of people think that bose ar all they did is teach you how to design bar
8:05 pm
mitts have palace. that is not true. they taught you how to design a well planned building, a beautiful flow from room to room and how to wrap all of that in an exterior that spoke to the city around it. something that's some modern buildings can use today and this vision is going to transform the american cities and especially new york. when the architect come back from that world fair in the next 20 years they totally transformed the city and bring us new buildings on a new scale and we have never seen before and we're going to cover these buildings in this lecture from the metropolitan museum on the upper left, the public library on the right, multi-entertainment complexes like madison square garden and carnegie hall built only a year later and headquarters for media companies, no, it is not microsoft, it is not apple, it is the new york herald newspaper at herald square, but it looks like a pretty poe loz owe, it
8:06 pm
was a high tech machine for selling newspapers and the same generation gave us absolutely amazing transportation complexes penn station on the left, grand central on the lower right, built between 1898 and 1913, these major transportation complexes still amazing in their planning and grand central more than just transportation complex and entire piece of the city from 42nd street up park avenue to 97th street was rebuilt in the 1900s, 10s and 20s, and this is also the era that gives us the sky scraper. true, chicago invented the sky scraper in 1885 and we built our first one in 1890. we were scared to death of it. we were afraid it would fall over and crush us. we adapt. you can see how high everything is going. chicago stopped at 20 floors. we kept on going. we're a narrow island. everybody wants to be here and
8:07 pm
all at broadway and wall and the wool worth building opening in 1913, 1,800 feet tall, 75 stories by modern standards and we're the first sky scraper city in the world when you think about it. before we go onto make sure we're all on the same page, the boe zart tradition these architects were reframing the city in goes back to the italian renaissance where in italy, right off of venice, vi chenz awas to the venetian empire, think of venice in the 1400s, 1500s of the new york of the a dry attic, and if you remember a donald trump in the venice of the 1400s and 1500s you would have your house outside of vicenza, and this is one of the most famous houses to come out of the 16th century, the villa of tundra, and it represents a new idea of architecture coming of age in europe in the 15th and
8:08 pm
16th century, basically the neoclassical system to put it in a nutshell was all about perfection. neoclassical designers said, okay, like is irrational, it is difficult, it is stressful, everybody is driving you crazy, even without iphones everybody is still driving you crazy and when you went home for the weekend and you came off the main road and you came off the driveway and you looked at this beautifully harmonious unified perfectly balanced building, you felt like you had fallen into heaven and that was the whole idea. the neoclass cyst said you could have heaven on earth and you don't have to die to get there. you could have heaven on earth and do it through art. art, music, sculpture, architecture, and in architecture andre poe lat owe synthesizes a hundred years of ideas and gives us the rotunda and basically it is the template for our mansions throughout the early 21st century but he is
8:09 pm
giving us a wonderful program, a harmony of balance, all of it focused on the port co-the front of a roman temple and how rude we americans when we see a port co-we think the supreme court, the u.s. capitol, a bank, maybe a theater and they thought in the italian renaissance, they understood this is where the gods were worshipped and this was the symbol of the ancient roman god's, not bad an architectural symbol for the new voe rich of venice and they came home to a house that spoke of the ancient roman god's and it also was a brilliant plan for communicating a beautiful, harmonious and perfectly balanced house and we see the rotunda from the sun and you can see how that port ico and stairs
8:10 pm
case, how the element is put to brilliant effect 500 years later by our bose art designers, pola ti o in the 1560s. it humbles you, the whole idea. look what he does by bringing the guests up the steps to what is really the second floor, we americans call it the second floor. europeans call it the first floor, this allows the ground floor to be a if full service floor to service whatever the needs of the house are above. this was not lost on the bozart designers of the early 20th century. in the city the same idea was used, a model of the pa has owe and never really built. part of it was built. in the city you didn't have room for a grand stairs so you came into the house and the ground floor was for services and also the business of the man of the house above. you don't have room in a crowded
8:11 pm
wall city for grand stairs outside so your guests came into the only part of the ground floor they were interested or ever saw, a beautiful entrance hall that led to a main stairs inside that led you up into the noble, the main floor of the house where all the ballrooms frp. this was not lost on designers in new york in the early 20th century. jump 400, 500 years and we're at the fifth avenue, the metropolitan museum under construction in the about 1900. you can barely see it on the upper left, done in the 1870s and 80s as a rustic, a little hut, really wasn't a little hut, kind of like an elephant trying to pretend it is a flake but trying to fit into the park and it is all there and you just have to look for it. it is all buried by later buildings. in 1895 richard morris hunt, the
8:12 pm
first professionally trained architect to come from new york and go to paris, he builds a new wings with the metropolitan museum that completely reorients the museum to fifth avenue. it is no longer a rustic hut in the park. it is a magnificent building that graces fifth avenue and the upper east side which is in the 1890s becoming the new millionaire's district of new york. basically hunt who lived in paris to get his head indication understood the french loved their cities. they took the italian neoclassical system and turned it into a magnificent system for urban buildings to give a kind of urban presence, a kind of monumental presentation and theatrical stage set presentation and it was one of the things people love and still do about the bozar buildings. i know in between then and now we had the modern movement and glass and white walls and everything minimalist and in the end of the 20th century we kind
8:13 pm
of resurrected the idea that a building is more than just steel and glass, it should have some kind of spirit to it and the fellow that captured that most is frank gary in his guggenheim on the left and he is basically using titanium and computer graphics to create the same kind of drama, the same kind of visual interest that the neoclass cysts did with the knee ae classical aid you mean 100 years ago and on the right is the tower he is completing and there in lower manhattan. i may not like the scale of beekman tower or the prices they will be charging for beekman tower, but it is new york, it changes, we have have to change with it but i have to admit whether you like him or not he certainly knows how to capture your eye and create a skyline effect and that's what they did, the boe zart designers did 100
8:14 pm
years ago in the 1900s and '10s. we go back on fifth avenue, modeled on the villa rotunda and the neoclassical designs that came out of the renaissance. it is a public building. there are 5 million visitors a year. imagine if every single one said how do i get in? you haven't ift haved a modern museum, all glass, minimalist and all of these visitors are coming to it and the first thing you ask is where is the front door? i lover all the glass. it is wonderful. it is so minimalist i am completely confused. here are buildings that were absolutely user friendly. you understood immediately where the entrance was. you never even had to be in new york. you knew right away and like the villa rotunda you had to go upstairs to get to the main floor. that left the ground floor, a service floor, very important for museum, truck entrance,
8:15 pm
limousine entrance, chauffeured limousine entrance for the wealthy patrons, all of that could come to the ground floor and pedestrians on the second floor and the separation of vehicular traffic from pedestrian traffic very 20th century idea. they're using the grand stairs idea of the villa rotunda. when you get inside the building and of course here again the triple arched interest we know exactly where we are exactly how to get in and it is almost as if they had a neon sign in red with a big arrow, say enter here, and that's what makes it really friendly to us and makes it -- that's why i have always love it. years ago in the 1950s when i was a kid you could go through the met and there was nobody in the met, nobody. you had the whole place to yourself. i kind of felt like it was my home. so you go up the stairs and you entered the main entrance and you were led by the architecture directly into the grand hall.
8:16 pm
a huge entrance hall through the colonnade on the left and the entrance from fifth avenue is on the right, the colonnade on the left leads to the grand stairs up to the second floor galleries. as a kid when i used to come here i don't think i remember the paintings and i do remember the grand stairs. i felt like i was in a hollywood movie and i think you are familiar with that and what a great way to get to 9 urine peen paintings. it is not just an entrance hall. it is a town square of a city within a building and leads to sky lit indoor boulevards. when you come from fifth avenue on the right, today you have the circular information desk. you get your questions are answered. you get your map. you have coat check over there, museum store over here. up the stairs is the second floor. on the balcony sometimes they put tables around a balcony which is perfect because they're like tables in an outdoor cafe overlooking the central piazza of the metropolitan museum, the entrance hall.
8:17 pm
that entrance hall leads to magnificent sky lit boulevards, the one in the downtown direction was restored in the last 15 years with the dwreek and roman selection and looking south from the main hall back of us and looking towards a smaller piazza sky lit where we use to eat and dine and the cafeteria was there and restored 2 and put it back to its original use as a gallery for greek and roman art. it is a grand indoor boulevard taking us from the central piazza. if you look at the national gallery of art in washington, d.c. from 1940, the same plan that makes it user friendly, the grand stairs takes you up to the second floor and the ground floor is free for vehicular entrance and the staircase leads to the main rotunda, your town square. you get your orientation, check your coat, whatever you need, and then the national gallery has beautiful indoor sky lit
8:18 pm
boulevards that take you in both directions to smaller piazza centers, sky lit, landscape and had where they have indoor concerts. no matter how do you the galleries in the national gallery of art, once you fall back into the ski lit central circulation system you know exactly where you are. this is brilliant planning. these why this, are so american, so pragmatic, so practical, very much for mass society. we built not for the upper 1% or the pot only 99%. we b89 for the 100%. we built for everyone. the same skill we apply to public buildings we apply to something new on the entertainment horizon, a multi-use entertainment complex. we're looking at the 1890 madison square garden. this was located at the northeast corner of madison square. that is 26th street. this is madison avenue. the building stretched from fourth avenue.
8:19 pm
we call it park avenue south. it was designed by mckinley and white and it technically is the second madison square garden. this was the site in the 1850s for grand central depot, 1870s, no, this was after the 1850s, grand central depot before they moved to 42nd street. when grand central did move up to 42nd street they left behind the huge train shed. that train shed was used first by pt barn you mean for his hippo drome theater and can the equestrian society of new york took it over for their upscale horse show. the horses may have been upscale and the equestrians may have been upscale but a rusty old train shed is not upscale. they decided in the late 1880s to demolish that and hired mccumbee and white to do this multi-entertainment complex and the madison avenue end of it had several theaters including a 1,500 seat music hall the size
8:20 pm
of today's town hall and a 1200 seat theater for shows and plays and that's the equivalent of a large broadway theater today, new york's largest restaurant and some people say it had a billiards room which would be very typical of those days, that was a very upscale indoor sport and had a beautiful arcade at madison, 26th and 27th so when you alighted from your carriage, taxi, whatever it was, you were sheltered from the wind, the rain, the sun, whatever was going on out there. the top of that multi-entertainment complex behind the colonnades and an outdoor roof garden theater where during the warmer months they could have the midnight frolics and sted ford white loved this building and hupg out there all the time and he was hanging out there in june of 1906 to watch the fore dor girls when harry walked up and shot him dead. his partner was a brilliant architect and so was stanford
8:21 pm
white and white was killed in a sex scandal so everybody knows the name stanford white. charles died in bed so we forgot him. this building not only had a multi-entertainment complex reaching madison and stretching towards park avenue south and the rest of the building was 8,000 seat convention center and with a retractible roof by the way. you think it is a brand new dwrd for the 20th century. it was the largest enclosed arena in the united states at that time, one of the largest in the world, and between the two halves of the building was the second highest tower in new york city, a 32 story high tower that you could see for miles around. all of this modeled on spanish renaissance prototypes from the 16th century and they really did a gorgeous job of taking the spanish ren sauns and turning it into a multi-interester at the same time complex for the modern era. here you're looking at madison square garden from upper madison
8:22 pm
avenue. you can see the arcade that gave you shelter when you came out of the carriage. there is the multi-entertainment complex itself, the colonnades where the roof top theater was and here is your entrance on the right and stan foshd white was brilliant at decorative effect. what i love about it, it was all set against a roman brick exterior. carnegie hall that i get to next uses roman brick, long, narrow, beautiful roman brick. we don't use it anymore because it is so narrow and requires more courses when you build something so we don't use it anymore. if you pay attention around town, there is beautiful houses from the 100 years ago, beautiful buildings using that roman brik. the arena itself, this is madison square garden's 8,000 seat arena. if you filled up the actual arena floor with seats, you probably had about 10 or 11,000 seats. several political conventions were there. as a matter of fact, the recent series on prohibition, there was
8:23 pm
a film clip of the republican national convention in 1924 and they had it in madison square garden, and you see them leaving madison square garden and the arcades and i was totally thrilled. doesn't take much to thrill me. i love that. this is an early partial, about 1903, 1904, somewhere in there and it is early where automobiles were for the rich and no one expected them to be anything but a toy for the rich. beautiful photograph on the left i found on the internet and here is the piece of the building facing madison square and madison avenue. there is your arena with your little retract i believe roof and still a retractable roof, and there is the 32-story high tower at the top of which was a statue that scannedized -- you could heartily see it which america was happy you could hardly see it. it had a weather vein that was a newt statue of diane a the goddess of the hunt, it was for
8:24 pm
equestrians, and she was a nude statue that served as a weather vane and she swivelled so you could see every detail and all the old guys in new york would gather in madison square with your binoculars and nanys would push their way at the top and diana swinging around and they would say what is that and be quiet and find out when you grow up and the rest of the country was mortified a naked woman could be seen from all over new york city. the philadelphia newspaper said what do you expect for the depraved taste of new york and the times shot back that beauty would never be seen as lasciviousness were it not for the philadelphia ans, so we got back at them. the irony of that argument, by the way, when this was demolished in the 20s, where is diana today, in the philadelphia museum of art at the end of the benjamin franklin parkway which by the way she gets a beautiful site of honor at the staircase. modeled on the geraldo in civil
8:25 pm
on the right and totally adapted to the needs of an almost 20th century entertainment complex, brilliant madison square garden, and the other great entertainment complex of the period, william tuttles karn any hall and andrew carnegie was great when he did this. i did this recently because it is an important anniversary this year and the cure rater was really very generous with his information and i know carnegie hall from when i was a kid and it is carnegie hall. i don't analyze it. i go there and i enjoy it. he pointed out why i always loved carnegie hall. tuthill, first of all, andrew carnegie wanted to make sure it was not madison square. he saw the handwriting on the wall and he knew it was moving uptown and says inned the new carnegie hall be only at 57th street or north and not anywhere below. everybody thought he was crazy. if you were a betting person you
8:26 pm
would assume madison square garden would last forever and carnegie hall would fold. it was totally the opposite. the whole city moved uptown to be where carnegie hall was built. tuthill did not have the elegance in exterior design but he was brilliant in the interior layout of the theater. again, this gina france cone awas pointed out things i always appreciated and really was not conscious of. it is a different symphony hall from what you see in europe. no chandeliers, no heavy decoration and by the way the hall is steel framed so that you don't have heavy columns having to support things above you and it is a steel framed hole but the steel frame was looked into a brick bearing wall, heavy stone bearing wall on both sides and the hall itself is steel framed and you can see views of it under construction at carnegie hall's site, at least at the current time. you notice the boxes have no partitions between them, totally unlike european houses, so it is
8:27 pm
much more physically open, much more democratic. everybody sees everybody. it is probably better for the sound as well. that wonderful stage with that kind of konk shell curving which cups the sound, the stage, you notice no curtains, no froufrou, none of that and it is fascinating how the stage slightly dips into the audience, all of which seems to work for the marvelous acoustics carnegie hall is known for and so besides those two great entertainment complexes another kind of entertainment was this building on the north end of harold square, you would never think harold square, this is an 1890s photograph with the sixth avenue l on the right built in 1879 and will come down in the 1930s and there is broadway up to long acre square and you know it as times square and it is still in the future. at the time that in 1893 when
8:28 pm
the new york herald built the building park row was the media center of new york and the media center of the united states. there was no hollywood in those days. obviously there were no films. the medium was the newspaper, and they were all on park row. that was the media center of its time and the new york herald had the better idea of break allege way from park row and building a new building in the middle of the theater district. 1890s, harold square and you can see by the signs and basically have the square renamed for the newspaper. that gave the "new york times" the same idea ten years later and they moved up to long acre square and the rest is history. obviously it was renamed times square for the newspaper. the bennetts had mckindly and white design a beautiful pi has owe, not a sky scraper so it is con spig us consumption, all of this expensive real estate and it is a two-story building. they only had enough space for the newspaper offices on the
8:29 pm
upper floor and the lower floor was the printing plant of the new york herald. here is another view of it on the left, later view, you can tell it is later because here you have cars. you have motorized vehicles coming up and down broadway and in the distance you can barely see it. the new "new york times" tower rises on the newly renamed times square. by the time that the tower was built on times square, that's 1904, harold square had faded as the theater district and macy's opens up in 1904 and heralding its roll to harold square as a new middle class shopping district. the way that the theater district moved is so new york. back in the 1860s and 70s it was union square and on the upper right was the theater district and by the 1880s it is madison square which is why madison square garden was built where it was and by the 1900s times square. we'll take a look at
left
right